Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Social issues, Social sciences

Publication Details

International Journal of Social Research Methodology, published by Routledge.


Internet-mediated focus groups (FGs) have become a feature of qualitative research over the last decade; however, their use within social sciences has been adopted at a slower pace than other disciplines. This paper considers the advantages and disadvantages of internet-mediated FGs and reflects on their use for researching culturally sensitive issues. It reports on an innovative study, which utilised text-based asynchronous internet-mediated FGs to explore attitudes to abortion, and abortion as a workplace issue. The authors identify three key elements of text-based asynchronous online FGs as particularly helpful in researching culturally sensitive issues – safety, time and pace. The authors demonstrate how these elements, integral to the actual process, contributed to ‘opinion change/evolution’ and challenged processes of stigmatisation centred on over-simplification, misinformation as to the incidence of a culturally sensitive issue in a population, and discrimination.



Unite the Union, Unison, GMB, CWU Ireland and Mandate

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Included in

Sociology Commons